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Influenza Vaccine Production

Jerry P. Weir
Director, Division of Viral Products

Regulation of Influenza Vaccines

Vaccines are regulated by CBERs Office of
Vaccines Research and Review (OVRR)
Authority resides in Section 351 of the Public Health
Service Act and the Federal Food, Drug and
Cosmetic Act
The safety, efficacy, purity and potency of these
products is assured by thorough review and
evaluation of laboratory and clinical data,
confirmatory testing, and periodic inspection of
manufacturing facilities

Routine Licensing Actions for Annual

Influenza Vaccines in the U.S.
Four licensed inactivated vaccines; one live attenuated
Each year, any of the previous three vaccine strains
may be replaced with a new strain
Strain changes are based on evaluation of circulating
wild-type strains and recommendations of the WHO
Submission of a prior approval manufacturing
supplement to an existing license is required for annual
influenza strain changes
Clinical data for approval of these annual supplements
not required for inactivated flu vaccine

Influenza Strain Selection

Antigenic drift continuous in influenza A and B
Antigenic shift less common but major concern (e.g., H5)

Vaccine composition must be updated regularly to

maintain efficacy which is related to:
Potency of vaccine (immunogenicity), e.g., amount of
hemagglutinin (HA)
Match of the vaccine HA (and possibly NA) with
circulating strains
First evidence of reduced vaccine effectiveness because of
antigenic drift within 2 years after first vaccines licensed in U.S.

Questions to Be Answered for Strain

Changes Every Year
Are new (drifted or shifted) influenza viruses
Are these new viruses spreading in people?
Do current vaccines induce antibodies against the
new viruses (HA)?
Are strains suitable for vaccines available?

Surveillance and Vaccine

Strain Recommendations
Recommendation for selection of strains to be
included in the vaccines depend on:
Robustness of the data
Accurate typing and characterization of isolates
Trending of the data
Extent of data

Timeliness of the data

Timelines for vaccine production are extremely tight
and relatively inflexible

Vaccine Strain Recommendations

WHO Global Surveillance
WHO Strain Recommendations for
Northern Hemisphere mid February
National Regulatory Authorities Recommendations
Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory
Committee (VRBPAC) late February

Input from CDC (WHO Collaborating Center)

Department of Defense
Manufacturers (availability and characteristics of
strains under consideration)

Seed Viruses for Manufacturing

WHO Global Surveillance
Provides characterized reference viruses

WHO Collaborating Centers

Provide high growth reassortants

Develop proprietary seed viruses

Regulatory Agencies
Accept reference viruses and approve seed viruses for use
in licensed vaccine preparations

General Timelines for Influenza

Vaccine Production

CBERs Annual Influenza Vaccine

Perform serology studies in support of strain selection
Develop new high growth influenza virus strains for
Evaluate manufacturers influenza viruses prior to
vaccine production
Prepare influenza virus reagents to determine purity
and strength of influenza vaccines
Distribute to vaccine manufacturers

The Pandemic Influenza Vaccine

New strains of influenza can emerge into the human
population at any time
Natural avian and swine reservoirs

Emergence of a new influenza will be a global problem

Timelines for vaccine production relatively fixed and capacity
Timely identification of pandemic strain critical

Optimal pandemic vaccine composition, formulation, and

schedule unknown
Lack of previous exposure make correct strain match essential

New technologies may be needed to facilitate vaccine

manufacturing and immunogenicity
Regulatory pathways need to be defined in advance to expedite
vaccine availability

Production of Inactivated Pandemic Vaccine

Ongoing WHO and CDC Global Surveillance

Pandemic virus identified

Reference (pre-seed) Virus Development
Reassortant virus

Manufacture Seed Virus

FDA tests reference virus

Genetically engineered Virus

Production of
Purified HA

CDC/WHO confirmation

Preparation of antisera
FDA tests seed virus
Monovalent vaccine Bulk

Potency antigen

Distribute antisera

Potency testing

Fill Containers
FDA reviews and approves licensing

= Manufacturers

Distribution of Vaccine

Toward a Pandemic
Influenza Vaccine
The regulatory pathway for pandemic vaccines is
similar to that of annual influenza vaccine
CMC and clinical information (both pre- and post
licensure) will be required
FDAs review process will build on existing
knowledge of influenza in comparison to the annual
Research efforts will focus on facilitating vaccine
development, including the evaluation and use of new

Influenza vaccines present unique considerations for product
development, including accurate strain recommendation
FDA is working with partners to diversify and strengthen
influenza vaccine manufacturing, and providing flexible rapid
regulatory pathways
Accelerated approval of new vaccines
Strain changes to licensed processes
Guidance to manufacturers regarding clinical data needed

Further advance preparation and improvement of strains,

reagents, assays and standards is important
Evaluation of new manufacturing techniques (e.g., non-egg
based technologies) and new product technologies (e.g.,
antigen sparing approaches), are best addressed before a
pandemic key studies are beginning